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Book part
Publication date: 27 May 2020

Patrick Baughan

The Anthropocene is commonly explained as a current epoch that began when human activities started bearing a major impact on the natural world. As an area of study, it has…

Abstract

The Anthropocene is commonly explained as a current epoch that began when human activities started bearing a major impact on the natural world. As an area of study, it has a logical disciplinary home, addressed widely in geology (Gibbard & Walker, 2014). However, it is also gaining traction in other disciplines, especially the social sciences (Bonneuil & Fressoz, 2017). In most accounts, it involves examining how the relationship between humans and the planet has changed and what can be done to monitor the balance.

Sustainability represents a more familiar challenge and discussion area in higher education. Nevertheless, two areas of questioning about it endure: what is sustainability and should students be taught about it? One established account is the “three-pillar model” which presents sustainability as an intersection of economic, social, and environmental issues (Brundtland Report, 1987). There are, however, different views as to how sustainability curriculum change should be implemented (Hopkinson, Hughes, & Layer, 2008; Stubbs & Schapper, 2011) but students appear to want sustainability better represented in their institutions (Drayson, Bone, Agombar, & Kemp, 2013).

This chapter considers whether the relatively recent focus on the Anthropocene can help us develop sustainability teaching in higher education. My project draws on desk-based research, comprising a review of academic sources on the Anthropocene and on sustainability, as well as teaching materials on these areas. The author also draws on five conversations with staff involved in teaching and researching the Anthropocene.

The outcomes point to some support for further teaching about the Anthropocene and in a way which links to sustainability, and the author argues that as a concept and proposition, the Anthropocene has important potential for informing future sustainability teaching. However, the relationship between the Anthropocene and sustainability needs exploring further in follow-up research with both staff and learners.

Details

Teaching and Learning Strategies for Sustainable Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-639-7

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 12 November 2019

Jan Bebbington, Henrik Österblom, Beatrice Crona, Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, Carlos Larrinaga, Shona Russell and Bert Scholtens

The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the nature and relevance of debates around the existence of, and ramifications arising from, the Anthropocene for accounting…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the nature and relevance of debates around the existence of, and ramifications arising from, the Anthropocene for accounting scholarship.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper’s aim is achieved through an in-depth analysis of the Anthropocene, paying attention to cross-disciplinary contributions, interpretations and contestations. Possible points of connection between the Anthropocene and accounting scholarship are then proposed and illuminated through a case study drawn from the seafood sector.

Findings

This paper develops findings in two areas. First, possible pathways for further development of how accounting scholarship might evolve by the provocation that thinking about the Anthropocene is outlined. Second, and through engagement with the case study, the authors highlight that the concept of stewardship may re-emerge in discussions about accountability in the Anthropocene.

Research limitations/implications

The paper argues that accounting scholarship focused on social, environmental and sustainability concerns may be further developed by engagement with Anthropocene debates.

Practical implications

While accounting practice might have to change to deal with Anthropocene induced effects, this paper focuses on implications for accounting scholarship.

Social implications

Human well-being is likely to be impacted if environmental impacts accelerate. In addition, an Anthropocene framing alters the understanding of nature–human interactions and how this affects accounting thought.

Originality/value

This is the first paper in accounting to seek to establish connections between accounting, accountability and the Anthropocene.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 6 September 2019

Sam Spector and James E. S. Higham

Conceptualizations of sustainability and the Anthropocene are expressed in static terms, with the Earth’s biosphere viewed as imposing immutable limits. Yet, increased…

Abstract

Conceptualizations of sustainability and the Anthropocene are expressed in static terms, with the Earth’s biosphere viewed as imposing immutable limits. Yet, increased access to outer space, with tourism as an important facilitator, challenges past limitations. This chapter examines the implications of advances in space tourism for the concepts of sustainability and the Anthropocene. The former is complicated by access to outer space, which may bring about a raft of calamities but also potentially immense resources and even the possibility of ensuring our species’ long-term survival by settling the cosmos. This chapter also analyzes problems incurred by the Anthropocene’s emphasis on terrestrial geology in an era of increasing ability to leave the Earth.

Details

Space Tourism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-495-9

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Jose M. Alcaraz, Katherine Sugars, Katerina Nicolopoulou and Francisco Tirado

The purpose of this paper is to advance the debate on “cosmopolitanism or globalization” by approaching this rich literature from cultural, ethical and governance angles…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance the debate on “cosmopolitanism or globalization” by approaching this rich literature from cultural, ethical and governance angles, and by introducing key notions from the work that has taken place in the natural sciences, around the Anthropocene.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on analytical tactics that draw on a literature review and thematic analysis.

Findings

The composite analytical “lens” is introduced here (crafted around cultural, ethical and governance angles) to approach the debate on “cosmopolitanism or globalization” plus the engagement with the literature on the Anthropocene, allow us to engage with current understandings of the global and the “planetary” that are at the heart of cosmopolitanism.

Research limitations/implications

The paper deals with and merges two complex streams of literature (“cosmopolitanism or globalization” and the Anthropocene), and as such, needs to be seen as part of an initial, exploratory scholarly effort.

Practical implications

The analytical “lens” described here shall be of further use to develop current trends re-claiming cosmopolitanism for the study of organizations.

Social implications

This work can help nurture a cosmopolitan sensitivity which celebrates difference, highlights expanded concerns for the “distant other” and fosters involvement in new forms of governance.

Originality/value

The approaches introduced here bring new angles to continue thinking about the planet as the “cosmos” of cosmopolitanism, and to explore new understandings around organizations and (global) responsibility.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 November 2019

Matthew Adams

The purpose of this paper is to articulate a meaningful response to recent calls to “indigenize” and “decolonize” the Anthropocene in the social sciences and humanities;…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to articulate a meaningful response to recent calls to “indigenize” and “decolonize” the Anthropocene in the social sciences and humanities; and in doing so to challenge and extend dominant conceptualisations of the Anthropocene offered to date within a posthuman and more-than-human intellectual context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper develops a radical material and relational ontology, purposefully drawing on an indigenous knowledge framework, as it is specifically exemplified in Maori approaches to anthropogenic impacts on species and multi-species entanglements. The paper takes as its focus particular species of whales, trees and humans and their entanglements. It also draws on, critically engages with, and partially integrates posthuman and more-than-human theory addressing the Anthropocene.

Findings

The findings of this study are that we will benefit from approaching the Anthropocene from situated and specific ontologies rooted in place, which can frame multi-species encounters in novel and productive ways.

Research limitations/implications

The paper calls for a more expansive and critical version of social science in which the relations between human and more-than-human becomes much more of a central concern; but in doing so it must recognize the importance of multiple histories, knowledge systems and narratives, the marginalization of many of which can be seen as a symptom of ecological crisis. The paper also proposes adopting Zoe Todd’s suggested tools to further indigenize the Anthropocene – though there remains much more scope to do so both theoretically and methodologically.

Practical implications

The paper argues that Anthropocene narratives must incorporate deeper colonial histories and their legacies; that related research must pay greater attention to reciprocity and relatedness, as advocated by posthuman scholarship in developing methodologies and research agendas; and that non-human life should remain firmly in focus to avoid reproducing human exceptionalism.

Social implications

In societies where populations are coming to terms in different ways with living through an era of environmental breakdown, it is vital to seek out forms of knowledge and progressive collaboration that resonate with place and with which progressive science and humanities research can learn and collaborate; to highlight narratives which “give life and dimension to the strategies – oppositional, affirmative, and yes, often desperate and fractured – that emerge from those who bear the brunt of the planet’s ecological crises” (Nixon, 2011, p. 23).

Originality/value

The paper is original in approaching the specific and situated application of indigenous ontologies in some of their grounded everyday social complexity, with the potential value of opening up the Anthropocene imaginary to a more radical and ethical relational ontology.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 41 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 6 September 2017

Hendrik Opdebeeck

After nearly 12,000 years living in the Holocene geological age we have now arrived in the Anthropocene. Now, instead of an integral ecology that considers the world as…

Abstract

After nearly 12,000 years living in the Holocene geological age we have now arrived in the Anthropocene. Now, instead of an integral ecology that considers the world as having its ecology, economy, and justice systematically linked, we are confronted by an ecology dominated by a profit-driven economy.

Since its very first beginnings, Western philosophy has reflected on humanity’s relationship with nature. Is the history of Western philosophy, then, merely a reflection of the evolution of humanity from the Holocene to the Anthropocene? Or did Western philosophical thought, along with industrialization and economic development, play a far bigger part and was it, indeed, the regulator of this evolution?

Our spontaneous care for nature – not at any price or exclusively – has led to an elegy. However rereading Western philosophy can help us to discover that the evolution toward the Anthropocene could challenge man to descry meaning behind nature. The way man regulates nature can be oriented toward rediscovering meaning behind nature. And the question of transcendence cannot be avoided.

Details

Integral Ecology and Sustainable Business
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-463-7

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Philosophy of Management and Sustainability: Rethinking Business Ethics and Social Responsibility in Sustainable Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-453-9

Book part
Publication date: 15 June 2020

Paul Shrivastava and Laszlo Zsolnai

This chapter aims to help redirect Business and Society (BAS) scholarship to embrace the unprecedented challenges of the Anthropocene era including climate collapse and…

Abstract

This chapter aims to help redirect Business and Society (BAS) scholarship to embrace the unprecedented challenges of the Anthropocene era including climate collapse and ecological breakdown. The existential risk presented by the new reality of the Anthropocene requires a radical rethinking of the purpose of business and its dominating working models. This chapter discusses the main problems of efficiency and growth and shows that business efficiency often results in aggregate ecological overshot. It is argued with Herman Daly that frugality, that is, substantial reduction of the material throughput, should precede business efficiency for achieving ecological sustainability. This chapter suggests new directions for BAS scholarship by highlighting three major issues, namely the scale of business activities relative to the ecosystem of the planet, short termism that is the discrepancy between the time horizon of business decisions and that of ecological processes, and inequality which is the result of current business models that are all about accumulation of wealth and not paying enough attention to distribution of wealth. The chapter concludes that the Anthropocene era represents a clear disjuncture and discontinuity from the past and business needs to find a new realignment to achieve a sustainable world. That realignment requires a drastic modification of business-nature relations.

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Ray Ison and Sandro Luis Schlindwein

The governance of the relationship between humans and the biophysical world has been based on a paradigm characterized by dualistic thinking and scientism. This has led to…

Abstract

Purpose

The governance of the relationship between humans and the biophysical world has been based on a paradigm characterized by dualistic thinking and scientism. This has led to the Anthropocene. The purpose of this paper is to reframe human-biosphere governance in terms of “cyber-systemics”, a neologism that is useful, the authors argue, not only for breaking out of this dualistic paradigm in human-environmental governance but also of the dualism associated with the use of systems and cybernetics.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper the authors draw on their own research praxis to exemplify how the intellectual lineages of cybernetics and systems have been mutually influencing their doings, and how new forms of governance practices that explore different framing choices might contribute to building innovative governance approaches attuned to the problematique of the Anthropocene, for instance through institutional designs for cyber-systemic governance.

Findings

The growing popularity of the Anthropocene as a particular framing for the circumstances, if it is to transformative and thus relevant demands informed critique if it is to help change the trajectory of human-life on earth. The authors offer arguments and a rationale for adopting a cyber-systemic perspective as a means to avoid the dangers in pursuing the current trajectory of our relationship with the biophysical world as, for example, climate change. The essay frames an invitation for a systemic inquiry into forms of governance more suited to the contemporary circumstances of humans in their relationships with the biophysical world.

Research limitations/implications

The research essay challenges many taken-for-granted epistemological assumptions within the cybernetics and systems intellectual communities. A case for radical change is mounted; the means to effect this change, other than through changes in discourse remain unclear though it is apparent that changes to praxis and institutional forms and arrangements will be central.

Practical implications

Cyber-systemic capabilities need to be developed; this requires investment and new institutions that are conducive to cyber-systemic understandings and praxis.

Originality/value

Understanding the global environmental crisis as an emergent outcome of current commitments to dualistic governance choices demands a reframing of much of what humans have done, re-investment in cyber-systemics offers a moral and practical response.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 44 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 December 2016

Trevor Hancock, Anthony G. Capon, Uta Dietrich and Rebecca Anne Patrick

The purpose of this paper is to explore the pressing issues facing health and health systems governance in the Anthropocene – a new geological time period that marks the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the pressing issues facing health and health systems governance in the Anthropocene – a new geological time period that marks the age of colossal and rapid human impacts on Earth’s systems.

Design/methodology/approach

The viewpoint illustrates the extent of various human induced global ecological changes such as climate change and biodiversity loss and explores the social forces behind the new epoch. It draws together current scientific evidence and expert opinion on the Anthropocene’s health and health system impacts and warns that many these are yet unknown and likely to interact and compound each other.

Findings

Despite this uncertainty, health systems have four essential roles in the Anthropocene from adapting operations and preparing for future challenges to reducing their own contribution to global ecological changes and an advocacy role for social and economic changes for a healthier and more sustainable future.

Practical implications

To live up to this challenge, health services will need to expand from a focus on health governance to one on governance for health with a purpose of achieving equitable and sustainable human development.

Originality/value

As cities and local governments work to create more healthy, just and sustainable communities in the years ahead, health systems need to join with them as partners in that process, both as advocates and supporters and – through their own action within the health sector – as leading proponents and models of good practice.

Details

International Journal of Health Governance, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-4631

Keywords

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